Will Vinegar Discolor & Stain A Carpet?

Vinegar is a natural cleanser, and many people like to use it for their DIY cleaning escapades, be it for carpets, clothes, or jewelry. But is vinegar safe for your carpets?

Are you wondering will vinegar discolor the carpet? In this guide, we have answered all the questions that you need to know before you clean your delicate carpets with Vinegar.

Will Vinegar Discolor & Stain A Carpet?

How Does Vinegar Clean Carpet?


Before we answer you, will vinegar discolor the carpet? It is important to understand the nature of vinegar and how it works. So vinegar contains acetic acid, and it can even dissolve grime or limescale.

When vinegar is mixed with water, the vinegar breaks into hydrogen and acetate. The hydrogen helps in dissolving the stain, and the acetate acts like a magnate.

And lastly, the presence of water helps in rinsing out the stain. This is how vinegar helps in getting rid of carpet stains and even odors.

Vinegar has many uses, it can help you get that rigid, sticky gorilla glue out of the carpet and also helps you to revive your matted-down carpet in high-traffic areas, making it look like a new one.

Will Vinegar Discolor Carpet?

Will Vinegar Discolor Carpet

So will vinegar discolor your carpet? Well, it depends.

In order to increase a carpet’s life span and appearance, many manufacturers apply chemicals to it. If you apply vinegar on such carpets, it will impact your carpet negatively.

Some manufacturers also use lead chromate in their carpets, which turns brown when exposed to vinegar.

Similarly, carpets that contain acid blue dyes also turn red when they come in contact with vinegar.

The chemicals used in the carpet are not the only thing that may cause discoloration.

Other factors, such as the type of carpet fabric, cleaning technique, etc., can also lead to the discoloration of carpets. We will get to this further in the article.

The most basic thing to keep in mind is that you should not apply vinegar on the carpet directly. Mix it with water to dilute it, and do a patch test on a small area of the carpet, especially if you are dealing with your dog’s urination or vomit on the carpet.

A dog’s pee contains a great amount of ammonia, and when mixed with vinegar, it can cause severe damage to the carpet.

Acidic Stains Vs. Alkaline Stains

The vinegar solution will not remove extreme dirt from the carpets, but it can remove stains. However, use it only on alkaline stains.

Here is a list of stains that will help you determine which stain is acidic and which is alkaline.

Acidic StainsAlkaline Stains
Fruit JuicesVegetable Matter
Soy Sauce V8 Juice
Alcoholic BeveragesPet Urine
Dairy ProductsGreen Smoothies
Coffee/TeaLemon/Lime Juice

Types of Carpet Fabrics & How Do They React With Vinegar?

Types Of Carpet Fabrics & How Do They React With Vinegar

Surely vinegar is a natural cleaning agent, and many people prefer to use it as it is inexpensive, chemical-free, and readily available.

However, not all carpet fabrics are compatible with vinegar, and some may lead to discoloration of the carpet.

Here are different types of carpet fabrics that may discolor the carpet if cleaned with vinegar:

1. Leather Carpets

You shouldn’t use vinegar to clean your leather carpets. When leather is exposed to vinegar, the color of the leather may fade.

Vinegar can turn the color of leather carpets green, brown, or black. It can even make the leather carpet brittle and dull.

2. Wool Carpets

Wool carpets are composed of soft fibers which can be damaged easily.

So wool carpets, whether made of Merino sheep’s wool, New Zealand wool, alpaca wool, etc., can all be discolored if cleaned using vinegar.

3. Silk Carpets 

Silk is a very delicate fabric, and using something as harsh as vinegar on it can lead to bleaching.

Natural and delicate fibers such as silk cannot withstand acetic acids, so you should avoid cleaning your silk carpets with vinegar.

If you have accidentally spilled or used vinegar on any one of these carpet fabrics, then remove the vinegar from the surface by blotting it using a paper towel.

Do not rub or scrub the area, as it will damage the fabric even more. If your carpet becomes brittle or stiff, then seek help from a professional carpet cleaner.

How To Clean Carpet Using Vinegar?

A vinegar solution can be used on certain stains and fabrics. Here are the steps on how to clean a carpet using vinegar:

Vinegar as a Liquid Cleaner

Things you will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Spray bottle


1. Mix one part of vinegar, one part of water, and one tablespoon of dish soap, and transfer the mixture to a spray bottle.

2. Spray the mixture onto the carpet to remove any smell.

Spray the mixture onto the carpet to remove any smell

3. If there is a stain on the carpet, then, first of all, blot the spilled liquid as much as possible.

4. After this, apply the vinegar solution to the stain and leave it for 15 minutes so that the vinegar can break down the stain.

stain on the carpet

5. Now blot the area again using a sponge or paper towel, and then dry it with a fan.

Vinegar as a Paste

Things you will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Container


1. Mix one part of vinegar and one part of baking soda in a container to form a paste.

Mix vinegar and baking soda

2. Soak up the stain completely using a paper towel first.

blot stain

3. Now apply the vinegar and baking soda paste on the stain and leave it as it is till the mixture dries up to dissolve the stain.

clean up stain

4. After the mixture has dried up, clean the area using a vacuum cleaner, cloth, or sponge.

Pro tip: Always do a patch test on a small area of the carpet before you begin cleaning it with vinegar solution.

Factors To Consider Before Cleaning a Carpet With Vinegar

Factors To Consider Before Cleaning a Carpet With Vinegar

Here are some of the things to keep in mind when using vinegar to clean carpets:

  • Never use vinegar directly on the carpets. Always dilute it with water first, and do a patch test on a small area. If everything looks fine, only then proceed further.
  • You should know what kind of fabric your carpet is made of. Do not use vinegar on wool, silk, or leather carpets.
  • The age of your carpet should be considered before applying vinegar to it. New carpets are treated with chemicals to improve their look and durability. Using vinegar may strip away the chemical, and the chemical present in it can also cause discoloration.
  • If your carpet has latex glue or rubber backing then vinegar may separate the fiber from the backing.
  • The level of soil in the carpet should also be considered. If your carpet is extremely soiled, then vinegar will not be able to clean it completely. Seek professional carpet cleaners in such cases to avoid any damage.

When To Seek Help From Professional Carpet Cleaners?

Although a lot of people prefer DIY carpet cleaning methods to save money, it is not ideal in some situations.

DIY carpet cleaning methods are cheap and can be used to treat stains. But before treating your carpet with DIY methods, you will need to consider your carpet fabric, its age, type of stain, etc.

You cannot use vinegar to get rid of years of dirt and grime; you will need a professional for that. You will also need a professional if one of your DIY methods goes wrong.

It is recommended that you opt for professional carpet cleaning every 8-12 months to maintain your carpets.

Wrap Up

So will vinegar discolor carpet? Yes, it can. We saw the different factors, such as the types of fabrics, stains, etc., that can lead to discoloration if cleaned with vinegar.

We recommend you to use diluted vinegar always and do a patch test to avoid any discoloration or damage to your carpets. However, if you are still in doubt, then you can safely use Bissell carpet cleaner to clean the mattress or Bissell Pro Heat carpet cleaner to clean the carpet effectively.


Is vinegar safe to use on carpets?

Vinegar is safe to use on certain carpet fabrics as long as you dilute vinegar by adding water to it. In plain vinegar, the level of acid is too high for the carpet to handle.

How can I remove vinegar from my carpet?

You can remove vinegar from your carpets using plain water. For this, you can either use a damp napkin or run the area underwater.

I have spilled vinegar on my carpet, what should I do now?

If you mistakenly spill vinegar on your carpet, then immediately blot the area with a paper towel. Keep blotting until the vinegar is soaked up completely.

Do not let the vinegar sit on the carpet for too long, as it may lead to discoloration or cause the carpet to get brittle.

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